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Blue Skies


My research spans from songbird behaviors to understanding student perceptions of racism in the college ecology classroom. See below for some of my recent research and projects



Northern Colorado American Robin Project

This research project investigated the behaviors of one of the most proliferate "urban birds", the American Robin in a rapidly urbanizing area. I use leading techniques to measure noise, light, and landscape along an urban to rural gradient to understand how this species is responding to environmental changes. 


Student perceptions of social issues in ecology

We conducted pre and post surveys to gain a sense of whether students perceive the impacts that racism, sexism, or colonialism has had on the field of ecology. We developed and deployed an exploratory class intervention to introduce students to these ideas, collect data on trends in ecology, identify patterns, and brainstorm solutions. 

Click here to read our paper on this project here

Students Discussing Paper



Avian communication 

As an ornithologist, I am interested in understanding the functions of certain avian behaviors. Most of my work has explored the function of song and song form on individual success. Recently, my colleagues and I published our work on the rare but widespread behavior of singing on the nest by female Northern Mockingbirds during incubation. Our publication is currently in press and will be linked here soon! Check back to read our paper in Ornithology!


Barriers to success in Biology Doctoral Students 

We surveyed 289 current biology doctoral students in 2020 with the goal of understanding the barriers that doctoral students perceive to their degree completion. We measured their Grit (as passion and persistence), Science Identity and Sense of Belonging to identity whether these factors contribute to whether doctoral students perceive more or less barriers. Check back soon to read our paper currently in press at the Journal of Biological Education. 



Construction Sites

Urban Ecology

The number of people living in cities has exploded over the last fifty years. With this has come changes to the habitats in and around cities. I am interested in the ways that wildlife life change/alter behaviors in these new habitats and how these changes might impact their evolutionary trajectories. My colleagues and I have analyzed songs from Spotted Towhees with a 40 year gap in time to assess if these bird populations have altered their vocalizations as their environment has changed from quiet streets to loud highways. Check back soon to see our work in the Journal of Urban Ecology (manuscript currently in press)

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